Get your Best of Chicago tickets! Line-Up Announced >>

Posted inMusic

Juan Jose Mosalini

JUAN JOSE MOSALINI Neither the tango nor its principal purveyor, the button accordion known as the bandoneon, can ever fully escape its Argentine heritage–even though the Argentines actually imported the bandoneon from Germany, where it substituted for the pipe organ in poorer churches. But both tango and bandoneon do have a comfortable home away from […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Cultural Fascism

Taking Sides Organic Touchstone Company By Albert Williams In his best-known play, The Dresser, Ronald Harwood paints an indelible portrait of an aging artist at his best and worst. Sir, as this ravaged giant of the British theater is called, is a vain, eccentric actor who refuses to acknowledge the needs of the people around […]

Posted inArts & Culture

True Books

Second Act: Life After Colostomy and Other Adventures, by Barbara Barrie (Scribner, $23). Synopsis: Barrie, a star of Barney Miller, Suddenly Susan, and similar fare, loses her rectum to cancer after ignoring unexplained bleeding in that region for nearly 40 years. Representative quote: “At first I whimpered while trying to clean myself with a moistened […]

Posted inMusic

6 String Drag

6 STRING DRAG It was only a matter of time before the wiser denizens of alternative country ran for the border. The four guys from Raleigh who make up the mildly punkish 6 String Drag aren’t breaking new ground like Jeff Tweedy and Wilco did on their second LP, but they have at least let […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Under a Mantle of Stars

Under a Mantle of Stars, Jaboa Theatre Ensemble, at the Chopin Theatre. Playwright Manuel Puig explores the nature of alienation and the thin, often tenuous border between reality and fantasy in this play about a sterile bourgeois household. Although these themes are certainly present in all of his work (most notably Kiss of the Spider […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Elmer Gantry

ELMER GANTRY, Marriott’s Lincolnshire Theatre. Loosely based on Sinclair Lewis’s 1927 novel about religious hypocrisy, this evolving 1988 musical has played twice at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. Continuing its ten-year trek, Elmer Gantry receives–even if it doesn’t deserve–a sturdy staging by D.C. director Eric D. Schaeffer. Telling the story of a tank-town Holy Roller […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Staying in Shape

Next Dance Festival Frank Fishella, Paula Frasz, Carrie Hanson, and Winifred Haun & Dancers at the Harold Washington Library, January 30 and 31 Next Dance Festival Cerulean Dance Theatre, Amy Crandall, Cynthia Reid, Eduardo Vilaro, and Zephyr Dance at the Harold Washington Library, February 6 and 7 By Terry Brennan Eight years ago, Dan Wagoner […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Best of the Fest

BEST OF THE FEST, Factory Theater. The two winning entries in this year’s “Shut Up and Laugh!” comedy festival may be a bit more restrained than last year’s, but they’re packed with substance. Gail Stern, victorious for the second year in a row, takes the proto feminism she toyed with last year and focuses it […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Fat Men in Skirts

FAT MEN IN SKIRTS, Red Wolf Theatre Company, at Angel Island. Shock effects in the service of genuine pathos, Fat Men in Skirts offers grunge galore: lipstick eating, throat cutting, baby munching. No question, Nicky Silver’s twisted domestic drama still detonates a ton of anger–at mother love that turns carnivorous and father love eroded by […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Numbers Don’t Lie…And Other Lies

NUMBERS DON’T LIE…AND OTHER LIES, at the Ivanhoe Theater. You’d think there’d be a million interesting stories in the steel-and-glass towers of corporate America. Stories about greed, lust, envy, ego, stupidity–all essential elements in a well-run capitalist economy. But if there are great stories out there, they don’t get told very often. Instead we get […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

History just isn’t what it used to be. The Neighborhood Works (January/February) refers to Harold Washington as “the city’s first and only black mayor,” which will come as big news to Eugene Sawyer. And on January 15, New City reported that “President Gerald Ford pardoned [“Tokyo Rose” Iva] Toguri in his last official act in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Here Lies Henry

Here Lies Henry On the surface Here Lies Henry is just one more in a seemingly infinite series of confessional one-man shows, the evidence of our narcissistic age. But this is a solo show with a difference. For one, the man who bares his soul–Henry Tom Gallery–is the fictional creation of Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor. […]

Posted inFilm

Oriental Elegy

Oriental Elegy An astonishingly beautiful and hypnotic 1996 video by Alexander Sokurov, most of it in black and white, but with brief patches in color and sepia. Basically it’s a 45-minute mood piece with a disembodied narrator who moves through a village on a remote Japanese island that’s wreathed in mist; the music consists of […]